Fencer aware of flora

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Capel to Cape Fencing's Patrick Overton identified endangered flora and co-operated with the DBCA before re-fencing
Camera IconCapel to Cape Fencing's Patrick Overton identified endangered flora and co-operated with the DBCA before re-fencing Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee/Jackson Lavell-Lee

The City of Busselton has praised a local contractor’s efforts to preserve the region’s rare and endangered flora after he went against the common tendency to clear first and ask for permission later.

Illegal clearing of roadside vegetation is a year-on-year occurrence, with some incidences having resulted in the clearing of declared rare flora and threatened ecological communities.

However, Capel to Cape Fencing’s Patrick Overton has bucked that trend — and the City is urging more people to follow his lead.

Mr Overton was recently commissioned by a landowner to re-fence a property, which neighboured overgrown endangered flora on Busselton City Council land.

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His first step was to notify the City of his intentions to re-fence, then worked alongside the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in the pruning process.

“I just wanted to make sure that we can work together to protect the natural environment,” he said.

“It’s fencing for the future.”

City environmental management officer Kay Lehman praised Mr Overton’s efforts to go through formal avenues following “several incidents of illegal clearing of roadside vegetation including the destruction of rare flora” in 2018.

“Native vegetation along our roadsides is a significant and important community asset,” she said.

“Roadside vegetation often supports populations of threatened species.”

Endangered vegetation on roadsides is most often being illegally cleared by landowners wishing to re-fence their properties.

One of the endangered types of vegetation being cleared or removed is Busselton ironstone, which the DBCA has been working to protect but is commonly targeted.

Only 10 per cent of the Busselton ironstone vegetation community remains and is restricted to the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain along the base of the Whicher Scarp near Busselton.

Endangered flora areas can be identified by yellow signs, which resemble hockey sticks in the ground nearby.

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